"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Breath of Fresh Air from Denver

Denver will be hosting this year's United Opt Out event in a few weeks. This event was held on the front steps of the Department of Education building in Washington, DC for the past two years.

I am an employed social studies and history teacher now for 6th grade and a lot has changed in two years.

Finding a public school that is not suffering under the current policies is extremely difficult. However, the situation is unsustainable and the voices from all walks of life and society are getting louder. People are breaking free from the chains of NCLB and the cages of Common Core run by profiteers instead of educators. Everyone is tired of policies dictated by those who have never taught or spent time as a teacher in a classroom

Education activists continue meeting, learning, teaching and sharing ideas and strategies to end this madness once and for all and get rid of the test and punish accountability monster. An entire generation has been subjected to this public education nightmare that has destroyed schools and communities, teaching careers, families and the teaching profession itself. How about a few more civics classes and nutrition classes instead of more tests?

Some basic common sense would also be a lot less expensive than the cost of the next six weeks of testing ELL students, children of recent immigrants here in New Jersey who will be subjected to three weeks of testing and another three weeks of testing when they return from Spring break. Do we need all those hours of testing to figure out how these kids are doing?

Teachers desperate to hold on to jobs and benefits just follow orders or quit if they can. Principals and administrators are also feeling the heat and are either leaving, retiring or beginning to stand up and speak out. Is this a good use of funds when budgets are tight and money is scarce? Nothing like the bare reality of poverty and scarcity to wake people up to what is really important.

From the Denver Post: Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Energy in Lakewood and the author of "Energy Victory" (Prometheus, March 2009).

In short what we've managed to learn is that the children of doctors and lawyers do better on standardized tests than the children of day laborers and welfare recipients. This raises an interesting question: Why are we funding this program?

At a time when school funds are scarce, why are we wasting tens of millions of dollars per year statewide, and close to 20 percent of classroom time, on a testing program, only to find out nothing that we didn't know before? Does anyone actually believe that Evergreen students do better than Jefferson students because of the superior quality of the staff? If we switched school staffs, but kept the students in place, would the high scores move with the staffs or stay with the students? So, do we punish the teachers at the lower ranked schools because they are willing to take on the tougher jobs?

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